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Jason Elliot lives in London. His previous book, An Unexpected Light , won the Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph award in the UK and became a New York Times bestseller in the USA.
Mirrors of the Unseen: Journeys in Iran (Picador: St. Martin's. 2007. ISBN 978-0-312-42733-7. pap. $16) by Jason Elliot is a compelling mix of travel and adventure. Through his conversations with a wide variety of Iranians and his observations of the wonders of Iran's architecture and art, Elliot gives readers a penetrating glimpse of a hidden world that few outsiders ever see. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Elliot (An Unexpected Light) traveled to Iran and returned with this finely detailed, timely portrait of a country and culture precariously balanced between East and West, dark and light, integration and Armageddon. Whether careening around the smog and traffic clogged capital city of Tehran in a battered cab or crawling through the rubble-strewn ruins of Persepolis, capital of the ancient Persian kings, Elliot's keen eye, supple mind and compelling way with words captures the rich, complex, contradictory essence of Iran, its history and people. Everywhere he travels, Elliot explores a central question will Iran, a country with a deep and abiding history of scientific innovation, fine art, high culture and beauty, step into modernity or will the revolutionary mullahs, the guardians and promoters of Islamic fundamentalism, take the country further down the road of isolation. In the cities, a culture of duality exists behind closed doors, liquor flows freely, music is enjoyed and women are free to express themselves fully. On the streets, however, religious extremism rules, manifested by squads of bearded enforcers looking out for infractions of their version of Islamic law. With Iran so central in the news, this is a good read for the armchair traveler and amateur geo-political strategist alike. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"A penetrating account of a series of journeys to Iran. . . . Jason Elliot is a travel writer of the old school: untethered to an itinerary, eager to be led astray, and as ardent an observer of the experience of traveling as of his destination."--"The New Yorker" "An important look at the forces at play in a region starting to dominate the Middle East."--"The Star-Ledger" (Newark) "Armchair travelers will enjoy moving with Elliot through both fabled cities and remote corners of Iran."--"The Christian Science Monitor" "A work of profound thought, imagination, passion, and ambition. It should be widely read."--"The Guardian" (U.K.) "Whatever stereotypes we may have crumble in the wake of Elliot's encounters with ordinary Iranians. . . . "Mirrors of the Unseen "takes us into a very different Iran, and the journey is fabulous. . . . Elliot writes like an angel."--"The Providence Journal"